Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump refused Tuesday to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan and Arizona Sen. John McCain in their respective primary races.
Trump’s comments were made in an interview with The Washington Post. In the interview, Trump said that Ryan’s primary opponent Paul Nehlen has been running “a very good campaign” and said that he is giving “it very serious consideration” whether he will endorse Ryan.
Trump claimed that the Speaker of the House had sought his endorsement but his spokesman has denied this. “Neither Speaker Ryan nor anyone on his team has ever asked for Donald Trump’s endorsement. And we are confident in a victory next week regardless,” Ryan campaign spokesman Zack Roday said in a statement.
Trump told The Post regarding endorsing Ryan that “we need very strong leadership.” “I’m just not quite there yet. I’m not quite there yet,” Trump added.
Ryan’s opponent Nehlen is running on an anti-immigration, anti-free trade platform similar to Trump’s. On Monday, Trump thanked Nehlen on Twitter.
The Republican nominee told The Post, “his opponent sent me a very scholarly and well thought out letter yesterday and all I did was say thank you very much for your very nice letter.”
He also told the Post, “I haven’t endorsed John McCain… I’ve never been there with John McCain because I’ve always felt that he should have done a much better job for the vets,” Trump added.
Both Ryan and McCain came out strongly this week against Trump’s comments about Khizr Khan, the Muslim father of a dead American soldier who criticized Trump at the Democratic National Convention. Trump had insinuated that Khan’s wife did not speak at the convention due to her Muslim faith. (RELATED:Khizr Khan Has Written Extensively On Sharia Law)
McCain said, “I cannot emphasize enough how deeply I disagree with Mr. Trump’s statement. I hope Americans understand that the remarks do not represent the views of our Republican Party, its officers or candidates.”
“America’s greatness is built on the principles of liberty and preserved by the men and women who wear the uniform to defend it. As I have said on numerous occasions, a religious test for entering our country is not reflective of these fundamental values. I reject it,” the House Speaker said in a statement.
Ryan’s primary is on August 9 and McCain’s is on the August 30.
Trump also admonished New Hampshire Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte in the interview with The Post, who similarly released a statement rejecting Trump’s comments on the Khans.
The GOP nominee said he loves New Hampshire in the interview but doesn’t know if Ayotte is the best senator for the state. “I don’t know Kelly Ayotte. I know she’s given me no support — zero support — and yet I’m leading her in the polls. I’m doing very well in New Hampshire. We need loyal people in this country. We need fighters in this country. We don’t need weak people.”